The Royals challenged 22-year-old pitching prospect Christian Binford, a precocious right-hander, with his minor-league assignment to start this season. They sent him to Class AAA Omaha, where he had spent some time as a reliever near the end of 2014 after posting sterling results as a starter at Class A and Class AA.
Things did not go well. Binford went 1-4 with a 5.86 ERA in his first six starts. The team elected to transfer him back to Class AA Northwest Arkansas on Tuesday. Binford made eight starts at this level last season.
The club promoted left-hander Jonathon Dziedzic and right-hander Andy Ferguson to Omaha from Northwest Arkansas. Dziedzic posted a 3.38 ERA in six outings for the Naturals; Ferguson carried a 0.85 ERA through 31 2/3 innings.
The most startling aspect of Binford’s struggles was his walk rate. He raced through the Kansas City system due to his ability to throw strikes. In 140 1/3 frames in 2014, he walked only 22 batters. In 27 2/3 innings this season, he walked 15.
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